Chapter 4: Administering meds

Giving medication by mouth – dissolvable pill or liquid form

I couldn’t help but think as I gave my mom her medicine and watched her face express her distaste, “How many times did she see me do this when I was little, when she had to give me my cough medicine?” I used to hate it.

Some medications taken by mouth might be a liquid or a dissolvable pill placed under the tongue. These medications are used for a variety of reasons, which may include the following:

  • Ease of swallowing
  • Faster absorption into the bloodstream
  • Specific type of medication works better in this form

You’ll find procedures below for administering medications under the tongue. Click the arrows to view.

Dissolvable pills or tablets should completely dissolve before swallowing. Liquid medication should be held in the mouth for as long as possible – often 5 to 10 minutes. Check with the pharmacist for recommendations for that specific medication, and ask if food or liquids should be avoided for some time after the medication is taken.

Watch the video for a demonstration and for tips on administering medications under the tongue in pill, tablet, or liquid form. 

Helpful Resources
To learn more about mouth care, visit Chapter 1 of Module 6.